Friends, this past election cycle was a devastating one for Democrats nation-wide. Really, we got trounced. Our butts were handed to us. The numbers speak for themselves. From the poor counties of rural Kansas to the stark plains of Texas, from the coal country communities of Kentucky to the streets of Harrisburg PA, we got crushed. So to my East and West coast Democrats who are wondering why – why people to whom it would seem opposition to Republicans and their policies would be a fundamental part of life, would possibly carry them to victory – you need to understand the new math in town. It’s been creeping up on us for a while, but now it’s arrived. It’s Energy – fossil fuel energy, to be precise.
For Boomers and Millennials here on the East Coast, we’ve been taught two overarching, nearly sacred ideas when it comes to Fossil Fuel energy. The first, and this has been ‘drilled’ in our brains since elementary school, is that we’re running out. We’re running out of Oil and Gas globally, nationally, and locally. The Second, of a more recent cast, is that Fossil Fuels are rapidly turning the Earth into a nearly uninhabitable, apocalyptic planet. Now here’s the interesting part: I’m not going to comment on the veracity of either assumption. That’s not what this short blog is about. It’s about how any Democrat worth his or her weight doesn’t stand a snail’s chance of winning any electoral race, from Senate to Dog Catcher, in any Midwestern state, Alaska or Texas if he/she strolls in and discusses carbon tax, carbon emission limitations, or declaring war on “Big Oil.”
America is a big country, and there is a new truth in the land. It’s a truth that is now as much of a factor in our economy as the automobile industry was in the 1950’s, or whale oil a century before that. America is on the cusp of becoming the world’s foremost producer and exporter of fossil fuels and related products. America is no longer some huge version of Industrial England. It’s becoming, economically speaking, a gigantic, colossal version of Saudi Arabia.
The Oil and Gas are not running out. No, to the contrary, they are bursting from our lands, being extracted by entirely new and arguably destructive technologies and methods. And this factor, coupled with the reality of a booming, energy-hungry South and East Asia, will potentially bring in an unprecedented amount of wealth to some of the poorest parts of our nation, an event not seen in over a century. The people of Bismarck, North Dakota and Louisville, Kentucky know this well. They see the changes in town. The new construction. The $20/hr wages at Walmart. They see jobs, jobs, jobs. And localities and counties see revenue, revenue, revenue.
Here in Depression-plagued New Jersey we don’t see these changes. We don’t venture into our nation’s interior much these days. We prefer to fly over it on our journeys west to California and beyond. But ignoring it won’t make it go away.
So, fellow Democrats and environmentalists, keep attending your public viewings of movies like “An Inconvenient Truth.” Keep watching your documentaries on how the Earth is slowly transforming into another version of the hothouse that is Venus. Continue to write your blogs that stipulate that if we continue to consume fossil fuels at the present rate, entire nations will find themselves submerged by the sea within the next few decades. You may be right; you probably are right. And that approach will win you accolades in our universities, it will win you new friends on the streets of Manhattan and San Francisco; it will win you standing ovations in the United Nations. But from now on, it won’t win you elections in most parts of the United States. No way.